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Responsible Tourism, the need of the future

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

Sustainable Travel, Eco-Tourism, Environmental Travel, are words that we find in travel sites, tourists destinations and travel company websites. These terms come up in environment-related talk shows, writings and gatherings. But what exactly is Responsible tourism? How can we be eco-tourism advocates and how can we encourage the responsibility towards eco-tourism? These are the questions we hope to find answers to in our quest for our goal.

Assam and the entire North East is fast becoming one of the top ecotourism destinations. An increasing number of ecotourism destinations, eco-tour operators, eco-lodges, sustainable homestays, responsible wildlife sanctuaries, and other responsible sustainable travel operators are in the fray to take mileage out of this selling term.

The world is finally waking up to the benefits of ecotourism from both the environmental and ethical tourism viewpoint as well as the economy.

Responsible Travel, Conscious Tourism

To say it in simple words, responsible tourism is all about enriching travel experiences that takes into consideration a destination’s heritage, environment and inhabitants. Being a conscious tourist also entails that you show your respect while experiencing culture and adventure in a sustainable way wherever you go, whatever you do.

Why Responsible Tourism?

The climate crisis is real, and we do not need Greta Thunberg's to remind us how close we have come to catastrophe. Hence, we can chip in to do whatever we can by practicing Responsible Tourism today, tomorrow and always. Climate crisis, Covid crisis, population explosion, and political differences together take a heavy toll on mother Nature. We cannot shrug off our responsibility as tourists, we have to be mindful of where and when we travel. As global citizens we have to see that our activities do not push locals out of their own neighborhoods to accommodate tourists.

To get the good out of tourism, here are some pointers that we can follow so it leads us towards a better world.

What Is Ecotourism Tourism?

It's been a few years now, ten to be exact that I started devoting my time towards environmental consciousness. It all started with saying no to Diwali crackers and taking small steps to conserve water. Ecotourism is perhaps a bigger term that involves a little bit of everything that goes towards making a bigger picture of responsible tourism. We must understand that ecosystems cannot exist in isolation and human activity has its own responsibility to sustain it. In simple terms, our travel activities should be structured to help conserve the environment of all places we visit and we should consciously make efforts to be a part of the well-being of local people.

Hence, eco-friendly activities should be beneficial towards, tourism, economy and ecology. We cannot ignore the ecology for a few dollars worth of economy for the simple reason that it is not sustainable. We must remember at all costs that ecotourism should protect the environment and at the same time, it has to enrich the lives of the people who are immediate stakeholders.

There are numerous ways we can become ethical travelers and limit the corrupting impact of our tourism-related activities, some of the ways may be including local vendors and reducing our plastic use.

Take time to pause

One of the best ways to promote sustainable tourism is to stay longer in the destination and get involved in local communities. One can take up volunteering activities and immerse in local customs and culture. This would be beneficial to the place but also help make a difference in people’s lives.

What is Sustainable tourism?

One of my favorite quotes on travel is Take only memories, leave only footprints. One can look at it from the point of view of leaving zero carbon footprints. It is possible if each traveler starts considering whether the food is from local villages, whether the waste generated is recycled and whether the staycation belongs to local people. Simple ways with huge impact.

Before making travel plans to faraway lands, why not ponder visiting some of the roads less travelled in the North East of India for instance? Travelling involves generating carbon footprints, more so if you are taking a flight. So consider exploring places closer to home. You would be saving bucks, energy and the ecology in one trip. Believe me, the North East does have its unexplored gems. But more of that later in my next blog.

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